(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today, the Committee on Environment and Public Works is considering three nominations. The confirmation of highly qualified individuals to lead federal agencies is an extremely important responsibility of the Senate. It is critical that we move forward with these nominations so that federal agencies can fulfill their mission to serve the American people. I would also like to note that all three of today's nominees were reported favorably out of this Committee in the last Congress and have been re-nominated by the President.
We will hear from Ann Dunkin, who hails from my home state of California. Ms. Dunkin has been nominated to be the Assistant Administrator for Environmental Information (OEI) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She has over two decades of technology management experience in both the private and public sectors, including nearly 20 years at Hewlett Packard. For the past four months, she has been serving as the Chief Information Officer at EPA. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Chief Technology Officer for the Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto, California, where she managed all aspects of the District's technology strategy, infrastructure and operations. Her experience spans the disciplines of manufacturing engineering, software quality, research and development, and operations and information.
If confirmed, Ms. Dunkin will be responsible for managing EPA's information technology investments and providing technology services in OEI, which collects, manages, provides, and safeguards environmental information. She would also be charged with leading the agency's Security Program which ensures EPA has a protected IT infrastructure.
We will also hear from Jane Nishida. Ms. Nishida has been nominated to be the Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) for the EPA. The mission of EPA's Office of International and Tribal Affairs is to protect human health and the environment while advancing U.S. national interests through international environmental collaboration.
Ms. Nishida brings 30 years of experience working in federal and state government, and international and nongovernmental organizations. She is currently serving as the Acting Assistant Administrator for International Affairs, and Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for International Affairs at the EPA.
Prior to her positions at EPA, she served in senior environmental policy roles at the World Bank and she was the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Environment. If confirmed, Ms. Nishida would be responsible for identifying international environmental issues and implementing technical and policy initiatives to address those issues.
The Committee is also considering the nomination of Dr. Thomas Burke to be Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development, which conducts research and provides expertise on science and technology issues to many EPA programs.
We know that strong science is the foundation of EPA's safeguards to protect public health and the environment. Dr. Burke brings over three decades of experience on these issues. Currently, he is serving as the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the Science Advisor for EPA. Before joining EPA, Dr. Burke was a professor and Associate Dean of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland. He has over 35 years of experience in state and federal leadership positions in health and environmental issues, including as an official at the State of New Jersey's Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection. Dr. Burke has also chaired several studies by the National Academy of Sciences and has served on multiple EPA science advisory councils.
If confirmed, Dr. Burke would play a pivotal role in ensuring that EPA's Office of Research and Development conducts critical scientific research to help safeguard human health and ecosystems from environmental pollutants.
Today's hearing is an important step forward in the Senate's confirmation process, and I hope that these nominees move forward expeditiously. It is critical that the many vacancies at EPA be filled with qualified nominees. EPA has a critical mission to help protect public health and the environment, and EPA's mission is strongly supported by the American public.